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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

288                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

Of Hermann Hesse's critical and essayistic work Bttck ins Chaos
(1920) has three essays on Dostoieffsky, whose influence on his
fiction is clear, while Dank an Goethe (1946) details his debt to the
sage of Weimar. The essays otRriegundFrieden (1949), in particular
Der Ettropaer and Zarathustras Wiederkehr, reflect Hesse's reactions
to the World War II. His Briefs (1951), with date from 1927 to
1951, are addressed to correspondents who have sought his advice
and to his contemporaries (Thomas Mann, Oskar Loerke, Andre
Gide, C. G. Jung, Theodor Heuss, etc.) and are in essence self-
interpretation.

As a lyric poet Hesse is traditional in form: Gedichte (1902),
Unterwegs (1911), Musik des Einsamen (1915), Trost der Nacht (1928),
Stunden im Garten (1936; an epic idyll), Orgelspiel (1940), and the
complete edition Die Gedichte (1942 and 1947). His early verse
draws from the common fund of romantic themes, moods, and
imagery; for his mature poetry the key is the Zweisinnigkeit of his
great novels, the saga of man passing 'im Zick^ack ^wischen Trieb
und Geist durchs Leberf - 'Bald Monch.> bald Wustling^ Denker bald,, bald
Tier*. Often sensuous, vividly limned and coloured, but rarely
subtle, they lack the compelling spontaneity of a poet proper; the
verse is indeed m marge of the novels, in which, however, the
ideological clash is consistently presented and defined, whereas in
the poems it is scattered and fragmentary. They are pondered in
patience, not poured forth in passion; that is, they are not Rausdh
kunst; and, moreover, there is a restricted range of theme and
ewige Wiederkehr both in Nietzsche's sense and in the sense of
iteration. One is tempted to say that, though in the novel Gold-
mund is clearly Hesse, the poems are thought out and morally
contrived by Narziss, although of course this might mean that in
them there is the synthesis the novels seek.

Gottfried Keller's ironic manner and Swiss sagacity come natural
to JAKOB SCHAFFNER (1875-1944), who, born in Basel, began as a
shoemaker's apprentice, and made use of his journeyman's experi-
ences in his first novel, Die Irrfahrten des Jonathan Bregger (1905).
Schaffner's ideal hero is a good European without religion except
that of the solidarity of nations on the path of human brotherhood
and progress. His ironic handling of customs and character sun-
ders him from the Heimatkunstkr, but in his descriptions of Swiss
life, as ia his village tale Die Erlhoferm (1908), he is vivid and close
to reality. His great effort is Konrad Pilater (vol. I, 1910, voL II,